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Showing posts from 2016

Life Lesson #110 ~ This IS the House that Built Me

"The best loved stories are not from books or films BUT those from our own families." ~ Anonymous
It's been said, "every family has a story to tell" and today for my last post of 2016 I welcome you to ours. "The house that built me was strong, faithful, not perfect by any means, but graceful and loving, and still standing strong. I was given joy, hope and an inner peace which has continued to give my life direction despite the winds blowing and howling outside. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." That's actually from a post I wrote over four years ago called 'The House that Built Me' in July of 2012. Re-reading over my older posts from the last 10 years the truth is my writings haven't really changed much since 2007. I'm still writing about what's most important to me...my family. 
My family, they are my …

Life Lesson #109 ~ Family is Everything (The Extended Version) 2016

"No matter how poor you think you are if you have a family, you have EVERYTHING." ~ Anonymous

Two years ago on December 19, 2014 to be precise I wrote my first post titled FAMILY IS EVERYTHING. The truth is our family has been through some pretty tough times. Back then we were recovering from some fairly harsh blows that year on all fronts to be honest. The thing is this: as a family we are stronger together, each of us individually bringing a strength which fortifies our bonds, reinforcing the ties that bind us. And just like in 2014, our bonds in 2016 are still unbreakable, unshakable and inseparable. Doesn't matter what bombards us, attempting to destroy or target our family. It doesn't matter who or what may try to tear us apart I know this to be true: we will not abandon those we love. Simply put, family is everything and so today I am revisiting this subject. Let me start with this... as a family, our goal is not to appear happier than anyone else, not to obtai…

Life Lesson #108 ~ Christmas' Past

"Today's MOMENTS are tomorrow's MEMORIES." ~ Anonymous

Do you ever wish you could go back and re-live a moment? Maybe you've pulled out a few old pictures from your childhood or your child's childhood and thought to yourself, "I just want 5 minutes minutes." Christmas time especially evokes those feelings for me. I'd love to go back when the boys were little, and scope them up in to my arms again, kiss their little cheeks and delight in their Christmas morning joy. Honestly how many times do we reflect on Christmas' past longing for those 5 extra minutes? How many times do we "smell a certain, familiar scent and suddenly remember a small part of our childhood?" Often is my bet.

Christmas time in our home has always been a warm, homespun, family affair. As a little girl Christmas was magical. Our tree was always glimmering with gold garland, red balls, our German ornaments and our family star high a top. Gifts were beautifully wrapp…

Life Lesson #107 ~ Be Merry and Bright

"It's not what's under the tree that matters. It's who's gathered around it." ~ Anonymous
So Christmas is almost here. School's out, the malls are full, ugly sweaters are back in style and admit it, you're singing along to the sounds of the season on the radio. Our tables are filling up, our trees are lit and prime real estate under the tree is not only at minimum but almost impossible to find the closer we get to Santa's big day. And with all that fun, also comes the stress and worry.This year our family has taken a new approach to celebrating this season of merriness and shall I be honest, should I dare say it, of anxiety and pressure. So what is our new technique, it's simple, it's a little something called slowing down and actually being merry and bright, not stressed and strained.
As Christmas began descending into our household following Thanksgiving I began taking inventory of the little things, and soon I was reassessing the bigger…

Life Lesson # 106 ~ Mirror Mirror on the Wall

"You must become unshakable in the belief that you are worthy of a big life." ~ Kristin Lohr

Most of us have seen Snow White or even Once Upon a Time. We all know how the story goes right? An over confident beautiful queen and an even more beautiful but unappreciated princess mixed together with a dose of jealousy, insecurity and envy leading to bad things. Before Snow White can get her happy ending the Evil Queen becomes determined to cast a spell and poison her with a ruby red apple. And in real life, that's how it typically begins...something innocent and relatively simply triggers and brings to life something dark, ugly and unseemly. For me it was the fateful day I heard the mirror whisper those painful words  back to me, I was not enough. But let's back up a little bit first. If we're being honest most of us have stood in front of our mirrors, many times feeling and yes fearing we just aren't enough. Maybe you've even whispered those famous words, &q…

Life Lesson # 105 ~ Family Traditions

"Traditions have a very special way of keeping favorite memories forever in our hearts."  ~  Anonymous

It's that special time of the year again. Christmas is almost here. With December 25th getting closer on our advent calendar every day so are all the festivities, parties and of course our family traditions. We all have traditions, ways we celebrate, commemorate and honor our faith, family and the love we share. For us this season brings so much happiness, reflection and hope to be honest. It's not just the decorations or the food, not even the gifts that get us excited or the fancy gatherings that bring warm fuzzies to our hearts. No it's the people, our loved ones, our friends who fill our hearts with such gratefulness. Some years we have more than other years but that has never made or broken our Christmas. This season for us is more about the love, the joy and the memories we share.Wrapped up in all those particular things are our traditions. Some go back g…

Life Lesson # 104 ~ Next Chapter Please

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"Mama looked into me and saw something worth believing in long before I believed in my self." ~ Keion Jackson

As a little girl I used to pretend I was a school teacher. I would set up my imaginary classroom in my bedroom, put on a pair of my dad's old army lens-less glasses, some of my mom's high heels and play school. All my dolls and stuffed animals would attend and of course homework was a must. The thing is I had ( still have) a learning disability. I struggled with math and science especially. On the flip side I was very strong in English and history. The truth is I never felt very smart in an actual classroom. But my mom, she always believed in me even when I was threatening to quit. Even though I struggled in math and she was a whiz with numbers, my mom never allowed me to believe I couldn't achieve my dreams. My dad on the other hand was the one who always encouraged me to write even when I misspelled every other word. Together my parents cultivated and s…

Life Lesson #103~ Making Peace with Yourself

"The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest is being happy with what you find." ` Anonymous
I was raised by an amazing, humble, selfless woman. A woman of grace, beauty and strength. My Mom, she's a giving woman, forgiving and generous. A modern day Ruth to be honest. What is a mondern a day Ruth you ask, well it's best said like this, "A "Ruth" is a woman who has experienced great loss and pain - yet has remained loyal and faithful no matter what. She has found her strength in God." ( A Modern Day Ruth)  That's my mom, living through loss, pain  and still finding strength and joy in her faith.
My Mom has always had a tender heart, and in that she's felt things deeper, with more emotion than many of us do. When she's hurt, her heart doesn't just break, it shatters. Growing up the only child of a woman who's heart had been broken long before I was born, it was painful through the years watchin…

Life Lesson # 102 ~ Swimming In the Deep End

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"Watch yourself little girl. You're swimming in the deep end now." ~ Anonymous

Learning to swim in the deep end of the ocean can be scary. The idea of not being able to touch the bottom while sharks are circling on all sides is simply terrifying. But sometimes life is just like this scenario. Life with all it's complicated lessons throws you in head first, no floaties and screams "SWIM!" My life so far, has been countless"SWIM" lessons. Not that I'm complaining or counting actually because I've definitely learned to swim without my floaties on more than once. As for the sharks, well they are another story all together. But this is the thing about those terrifying, jagged edged mouth full of teeth, ready to devour us whole sharks: if a difficult situation doesn't challenge you then it certainly won't change you. So the reality is those sharks circling us night and day, well they have a purpose. They teach us not only to tread water …

Life Lesson #101 ~ Give Thanks

"It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy."  ~ Anonymous

As we approach the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season, i want to reflect first on Thanksgiving. This year as most we gathered with family and friends. And like so many other years we have so much to be thankful for. This last year our family has seen so much growth spiritually, mentally, emotionally and financially. There's not much we can honestly complain about. Johnny and I are on solid ground, happy and our foundation stronger than ever before. The boys are in school.Micah is a senior, looking forward to starting college and yes planning his graduation trip. Joshua, he's 20, in college, becoming his own man and finding his own way. I'm working my dream job and Johnny's working for a good complany. My parents are in the prime of their lives, preparing for my dad to retire, to travel and enjoy even more time with each other. And there's the puppies, …

Life Lesson # 100 ~ Live, Love and Rescue

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.” ~ Thom Jones
Losing Oscar was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt loss in such a way as I did the in the days following his death. For some that may sound odd but for those of us who love our pets as our own children, when one of our babies passes it’s excruciating. Without notice, a part of me was gone, leaving a void. With Oscar’s loss, my heart broke in a thousand pieces. I was devastated living with a hole in my heart a mile wide. I had no idea if I could open my arms, my heart and our home again to another fur-baby honestly. I mean there’s no replacing your fur-babies, they have their own unique place in your heart, with their own personalities and charm. The idea of bringing another animal into our home, soon after Oscar left for Rainbow Bridge was comforting and yet a bit rattling too. We talked, we cried and we kept …

Life Lesson #99 ~ Give ‘Em Something to Talk About

“Marriage doesn’t make you happy --- you make your marriage happy.  ~ Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott
I’m amazed by the life I have, the one I’ve been given and entrusted with. I’m happy living this life of mine. It's full of love, laughter and adventure. I’m married to the love of my life. Together we have two amazing, smart and handsome boys.  We have a beautiful home, good jobs and a lifestyle we’re content with. Our life is a good one. Have we faced challenges, yes we have. Have we experienced ups and downs, absolutely we have.  Has life been a white picket fence, no way but it has been an incredibly happy life.
It's no secret Johnny is the love of my life. From the moment my eyes met his, I knew there would never be another. He was so young back then with a baby face. I was completely taken by his eyes; they just felt so intense and wild, free and full of fire. His grin was rather devilish causing my heart to skip a beat every time he looked at me.   Johnny was everything I wa…

Life Lesson #98 ~ Life’s Snapshots

“A photograph is the pause button of life.” ~Anonymous 

I’ve been reminiscing, looking back on all our photographs from the last 20 years lately. It always brings me such joy. It’s as if all those years all come together building a mosaic, a montage of memories, feelings and emotions right in front of me. I love holding old pictures in my hand, being able to remember a moment from years ago that may have slipped away from my memory. It’s almost as if you can actually reach out and touch the memory, feel the love, the joy or even the sadness of the moment as it unfolds in your hands. It’s one of the reasons I always have a camera ready. I learned early on to capture as many imprints life has to offer as possible, I guess I’ve always understood how important keeping a collection of life’s impressions close by was while also making sure celebrations on hand  were tucked away somewhere safe. Why, well because in the blink of an eye all those memories can fade and be taken away. The truth …

Life Lesson #97 ~Sticks and Stones

"Throw your sticks and stones. Throw your bombs and blows but you’re NOT going to break my soul.” ~ Katy Perry

Today I want to talk to you about something close to my heart. For those who know my family’s backstory, you know we’ve faced some fairly big hurdles. Now for those of you who've recently joined our journey the details would probably make your head spin like something out of the Exorcist.  Seriously, it’s been quite an ordeal, the whole head spinning, vomiting thing and all. I have to be honest there have been a few times I wasn’t sure we’d make it out of our own montage of classic 1970’s/80’s horror movies combined. But the truth is we did and we've not only grown since but thrived in the process. And yes hands to my heart, we have stayed as far away from anything remotely resembling a Regan moment since. But none of that changes the fact we had to live through any of it in the first place now does it? On a serious note, the truth is those scary movie scenes for…

Life Lesson # 96 ~ Little Boys

“Legends are born in November.” ~ Anonymous
I learned this very lesson during November of 1996. Yes, twenty years ago I became a mom… for the first time I might add. In the days before Joshua was born I was scared, excited and completely unaware how much my life was about to change. Sure I knew life was never going to be the same again but I never dreamed how infinitely it was about to. I knew what I’d been told by other moms. You know the old no sleeping, "don’t do that, but do this" speeches. I was ready for all that, but what I wasn’t fully prepared for was the ache I felt inside my heart. I had no clue the unbearable yet beautiful pain I’d feel loving my child more than myself.  How do you fully explain how a child changes you? I don’t know if anyone can really except to say your lives are turned upside down, changed and completely different within seconds. From the very moment we first heard Joshua’s newborn cries Johnny and I knew our lives would be forever altered. We…